Urine containing santonin assumes a red colour on the addition of a little sodium
hydroxide. Rhubarb present in the urine gives a similar colour, but if excess of lime
is added after the addition of sodium hydroxide, and the urine is afterwards filtered,
the filtrate is colourless if the reddening is due to rhubarb, but retains its colour if it is
due to santonin.
Medico-Legal Points.—Cases of poisoning occur accidentally from an overdose or
from idiosyncrasy. Santonin is eliminated slowly by the kidneys, and has a tendency
to accumulate in the system. Hence it may act as a poison, if administered for a pro-
longed period even in medicinal doses. In his annual report for the year 1952, the
Chemical Examiner, West Bengal, records the case of a male child, aged about 6 years,
who died after he was given £ grain of santonin thrice a day for five days for treatment
Oil of Absinthe (Oil of Wormwood).—This is a volatile oil, which is extracted by
distillation from Artemisia absinthium. It is used as an abortifacient, sometimes with
fatal results. A woman 49 died in three-quarters of an hour after swallowing 100 grains
of oil of absinthe, which she had procured for the purpose of terminating her pregnancy.
A few minutes after she took the oil, she was found lying speechless.
The liqueur, which is known as absinthe, contains oil of absinthe (oil of wormwood)
with a large proportion of alcohol, and is largely used as an alcoholic drink in France.
When taken in excess or for a prolonged period, it produces epilepti-form convul-
sions, and causes digestive disturbances, restlessness, giddiness, tingling in the ears,
trembling of the tongue and hands and illusions of sight and hearing, followed by numb-
ness of the limbs, loss of intellect, general paralysis and death.
The treatment consists in. stopping the convulsions by giving ether or chloroform by
inhalation or by administering paraldehyde intravenously, and then washing out the
stomach. The patient should be kept warm and should be watched so that he might
not receive any injury during convulsions.
CAMPHOR (KAFOOK), C10H10O
This is stearoptene obtained from the wood, twigs and leaves of Cinnamomuna
camphora (Camphora officinarum) belonging to N.O. Lauracese. It is artificially pro-
duced by the direct union of oil of turpentine and hydrochloric acid. It occurs as colour-
less, transparent crystals, rectangular tablets or powdery masses known as "flowers of
camphor", having a peculiar, fragrant, penetrating odour and a pungent, bitter taste
followed by a sensation of cold. It floats on water in which it is almost insoluble but
it is dissolved by alcohol, ether, chloroform, milk, and oils. It is extremely volatile and
inflammable, burning with a bright light and much smoke. When rubbed with chloral
hydrate, menthol, phenol or thymol it forrn^ a liquid. The dose is 2 to 5 grains. It is a
constituent of the following official preparations: —
1. Aqua camphoros.—Strength, i grain to 1 fluid ounce. Dose, J to 1 fluid ounce.
2. Linimentum camphor OB,-—It is commonly known as camphorated oil. Strength,
20 per cent of camphor.
3. Linimentum camphoros <tmmoniatum.-^It is commonly known as compound lini-
ment of camphor. It contains 12.5 per cent of camphor.
4. Spiritus camphoroe.—Strength, 1 in 10. Dose, 5 to 30 minims.
5. Tinctura opii camphorata.—It is also called Paregoric or Tinctura camphorse
composite. It contains 3 parts of camphor in 1,000 parts of alcohol. Dose, 30 to 60
Camphor is widely used as a personal disinfectant and as a preservative of clothing
against an attack of moths* When rubbed into the skin, camphor acts as an irritant,
causing redness and heat. When taken internally in poisonous doses, it acts as an irri-
tant to the stomach, and after absorption it acts first as a stimulant and then as a
depressant to the nerve centres.
Borneo Camphor or Borneo!, CioHiaQ, is derived from Dryobalanops aromatica, and
is ordinarily met with in commerce in place of camphor, from which it can be dis-
tinguished by sinking in water.
Symptoms.—Burning pain in the mouth and stomach, nausea, vomiting, flushed face,
cyanosed lips, dilated pupils, vertigo, convulsions, delirium, unconsciousness, coma and
death from respiratory failure. The breath, vomit and urine have the odour of camphor.
There may be an elevation of body temperature, especially in children.
Fatal Dose.—Twelve to thirty grains of camphor have been fatal to children. Twenty
grains is the smallest quantity that has produced alarming symptoms of poisoning in an
49. Brit. Med. Jour., Aug. 16, 1902, p. 504.